Wednesday, July 25, 2007

small matter of questions

Where are you now? Sitting on another ashen shore, just outside of time, a little beyond space. A rocky coastline stretches out for miles beneath a vacant white sky, and that infinite ocean rolls in and out, its brackish waters coldly existing without a second thought for its guest. It doesn’t care about you, with your petty wants and concerns, your mundane needs and inquiries. No. That ocean flatly ignores you and continues doing what oceans do: coming and going.

“We could have been,” you say, your voice barely audible above the crashing waves. “I could have been - but I didn’t try quite hard enough.”

Little hands digging into soft sand. Petite feet pushing out and away.

“I wound up in exactly the place I deserve,” you say. “The end of my life was the sum of my decisions. I could have done more.”

You’re a memory, resting inside my head, forever wandering those desolate beaches. This is your afterlife. Sitting on a rotting pier we never knew in life, existing in a harbour forever hidden away just around the bend in the furthest recesses of my mind. What do you think about while wandering through the wilds of my thoughts? What do you dream about while sleeping in my dreams?

“Inconsequential. Average. Pursuer of the status quo.” You sigh because it’s all you’ve left to say. “Doomed.”

Sad that your once glowing skin has grown to match the colour of nothing, and your hair has become as washed out as that colourless sun. And how your eyes, those same eyes which were once so bewitching in life, have now become so dull, so empty, so prosaic.

“I could’ve done more,” you whisper. “Jesus, I could’ve done more. All I needed to do was to ask myself what it was that I needed to do next. Just once.”

So, where are you now? Sitting on another ashen shore, just outside of time, a little beyond space. Questioning. At the end of a life unfulfilled. At the end of a life unlived.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

a comfortable place

You wonder, a little, if it is so wrong that you don’t really care about Africa. Today, an entire village is burned to the ground, but your thriving metropolis remains intact. A warlord orders the extermination of more than two hundred souls, but you’ve still got your decaf mocha latte. A child, a soldier, ten years old, hoists an aging Kalashnikov in celebration, and it is all you can do to hoist that television remote one more time. There has to be something better on. Something a little – lighter.


You wonder, a little, if it is so wrong that you don’t really care about politics. Today, a raging debate about the nature of debates. Behind the scenes, people are busy deciding which candidates are more important for you to see more of, and you just think, Has he always had that same hairdo? She’s really aging poorly, isn’t she? Look at those neck wrinkles. Behind the scenes, your next president is being chosen, and your finger just can’t wait to press the button. There has to be something better on. Something a little more – interesting.


You wonder, a little, if it is so wrong that you don’t really care about religion. The dirty fingers of war ceaselessly poke and jab at this earth, while your fingers are finding sticky salvation at the bottom of a family-sized bag of zero trans fats crisps. Don’t bother to ask yourself why one country goes to war with another. Tell yourself that it’s for the better good of mankind. Tell yourself that it’s because of human rights. Heck, go ahead and tell yourself that it’s because of oil. Just don’t dig any deeper. Go ahead and push that button. Just push it.


You wonder, a little, if it is so wrong that you don’t really care about reality. And we’re talking real reality here – you have no trouble getting on board with the reality television variety of reality. That reality where one man is challenged to find love or lust amongst a flock of sprayed and spackled beauties. That reality where a dozen losers are cast away on a fake island. That reality where a dozen young hopefuls sing their hearts out for a once in a lifetime deal with the devil. No, you have no trouble accepting those realities.

You can relax now, your heart and mind at ease.

You can relax now, your finger no longer itching.

You can relax now, your soul having found its place.

Friday, July 13, 2007

hail to the chief

Skin pinches, needle sticks in. No noise comes from my mouth. No. Not this mouth. Teeth grind a little, molars crunching roughly on molars. Muscles in the jaw tighten, sinewy chords in neck bulge, and fists clench straining against canvas restraints. They can’t take me. No. Not this guy. Stainless steel spike withdraws, giving way to the big, forgery of a smile stuck on a pretty nurse’s face. My eyes roll. The walls are a pastel blue - and I haven’t seen anything so pretty in such a long time.

The mirrored sunglasses of a dozen young suits. Ear buds planted in alert ears. Hands ready to fly through lapels at the first sign of—

Another pinch. Another stick of the needle. This chair is my home now. These four blue walls, my whole world. Ghastly chrome apparatuses. A confusing array of tools. A single window, the outside closed off from me by clinical white blinds. I gasp, and the pretty nurse hushes me with a slender finger pressed to nude lips. “Shh,” she says. “Everything’s going to be all right. You’re going to be just fine.” But I don’t believe her.

Trouble. There’s a quick silvery flash in the crowd of onlookers lining the street just as the old man’s glistening motorcade rounds the corner. Billowing fender flags and white wall tires. Gleaming lapel pins and a helmet of white hair. They told him not to take the convertible. They told him to keep himself behind glass.

This liquid is hot in my vein, and I can feel it travelling down my forearm and up through my bicep. Numbing. Anaesthetizing. Killing all sense as it goes. Entire arm is soon dead. Shoulder, useless. There’s a slight tickle of concern on the pretty nurse’s lips. She breathes in gently, filling her lungs, holding her breath. Her eyes meet mine before jumping away. She exhales shakily, withdrawing the spike from my vein.

That flash in the crowd. The young suits converge, wrestling the perpetrator to the ground. The old man glides by oblivious, smile on his face, hand waving in the air. The crowd is ecstatic. No-one seems aware of the struggle but me. A set of mirrored lenses spot me through the masses. Words are spoken into a lapel. In that instant, it was made very clear to me that I had just seen something that I wasn’t supposed to see.

“There, there. I told you everything was going to be all right.” The nurses words are soft, and her hand is patting me gently on the shoulder. She tousles my hair. “Nothing to it.” This chair is my new home. These four pastel blue walls are my whole world. “The doctor should be in to see you straight away. Until then we’ll monitor your vitals.”

A quick pursuit. A little resistance. A long drive to nowhere.

My jaw doesn’t clench anymore, or else it would be right now. My teeth don’t grind. My mouth doesn’t open. No. Not this mouth. And something tells me it won’t be doing much from this point forward. No eating – that’ll be handled intravenously. No singing – these lips have been patriotic enough. And certainly no talking. No. No talking. And I’m not even sure what I ever had to say in the first place.